Supplemental feeding of game species and the use of backyard feeders to attract avian wildlife are common practices throughout the United States. However, these activities may expose wildlife to aflatoxins. We tested the hypothesis that wild birds would avoid consuming aflatoxin-contaminated feed. Individual northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica), and green jays (Cyanocorax yncas) were presented with feeders that had four compartments, which contained milo that was contaminated with aflatoxin levels of 0, 100, 500, and 1,000 μg/kg, respectively. Feed remaining was weighed at 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 hr after the initiation of the trial. White-winged doves and northern bobwhites did not avoid contaminated feed. However, green jays selected against aflatoxin-tainted grain. Because white-winged doves and northern bobwhites did not avoid contaminated feed, the risk of exposure to this potentially hazardous toxin exists for these species.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2